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Banks: Closures

Question for Treasury

UIN 40939, tabled on 18 August 2021

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the impact assessments produced by banks when announcing a bank branch closure include an assessment of privacy provision at local post offices for confidentiality purposes.

Answered on

6 September 2021

The major high street banks have been signed up to the Access to Banking Standard since May 2017, which commits them to ensure customers are well informed about branch closures, the bank’s reasons for closure and options for continued access to banking services.

Under the Access to Banking Standard, banks are expected to publish an Impact Assessment which ensures impacted customers understand what the alternatives are when a branch is closing, how they can be accessed, and what the bank will do to help or assist with all or each of those.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has also published guidance setting out its expectation of firms when they are deciding to reduce the number of their physical branches. The FCA expects firms to carefully consider the impact of a closure on a consumer’s needs and consider possible alternative access arrangements. Consumer needs could comprise physical access requirements, the need for privacy, or security for making transactions. This is particularly important for vulnerable customers, so they are not excluded from using everyday banking services.

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